Saturday, October 1, 2011

20 Aphorisms - October 2011

Here are another twenty aphorisms on technology, parenthood, distraction, martial arts and more. 

As philosophy, they are obviously unsophisticated - they lack the sustained argument of a book or essay. 

But they are not replacements for scholarly work.  They're attempts to put an idea crisply and boldly - to 'seduce and elevate,' as Friedrich Nietzsche (left, with saber) put it.

In this, aphorisms have educational ambition: to jog memory, pique curiosity and drive action.
  1. The internet has brought many people closer apart.
  2. Parents and teachers praising children for quiet docility: raising adults who will 'just follow orders'.
  3. The soul: one of the oldest and most beautiful of intellectual errors.
  4. 'The universe rewards positive thinking': this is the emperor's new age clothes.
  5. Drivers often feel sympathy when they see me walking. The feeling is mutual.
  6. The artist's false consolation: talking about one's 'potential' as if it were real.
  7. Waiting for inspiration is like waiting for someone to love you - a triumph of hope over honesty.
  8. Kitsch is the back door into the mansion of style.
  9. Power at its most familiar: making others wait. Examples: the dawdling child, the late specialist, the lover.
  10. Being distracted is the anti-Blake: having the world, but seeing only a grain of sand.
  11. The great crime of contemporary journalism: not redeeming its shallowness with beautiful prose.
  12. 'Consumer': a word that mistakes necessity for identity.
  13. 'Management reserves the right to...' is often another way of saying: 'We are legally allowed the following mistakes....'
  14. It is healthier to redirect than repress violent urges: the case for martial arts.
  15. On violence: physical confrontation is not the problem - the problem is a mix of malice, vanity and lack of restraint.
  16. A balanced life would be easier if there weren't so much profit in imbalance. Health often requires frugality.
  17. Free speech is an achievement, not just a right. Our words can be liberated well before our minds.
  18. Romantics are sometimes the worst misogynists: they hate women for not living up to their false ideals.
  19. For many postmodernists, the only sin is sincerity.
  20. Because it is public, many recognise the craft of writing. Reading is more private, and more overlooked as a talent.


railisimojoki said...

I like 16. What does 17 mean?

Damon Young said...

It means that 'speaking freely' is not just about law. It's also about cultivating habits of honesty, clarity, bravery.

Alister Scott said...

Well collated and thought provoking. Well done (as usual).

Damon Young said...

Thank you, Alister. I enjoy writing these, so it's nice when others enjoy them also.